Amazon HQ2 Downtown?

While the Amazon HQ2 circus has ebbed and flowed regarding Raleigh’s chances, there has been some Raleigh positive news regarding our chances lately, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that downtown Raleigh is their preference. Wouldn’t Charlotte just shit bricks if that happened? I digress…
In any case, WRAL has a good article on the topic today and it says that the sites being considered are not Kane’s prime corridor. I wonder what that means? Apparently the narrative is that they could build in Raleigh the same way that they did in Seattle. I guess that means that they just build buildings where there’s available land? I really don’t know enough about Amazon’s footprint in Seattle to speculate.
In any case, here’s the wral article in their techwire section:
The article also states that the Apple announcement is imminent. I sure hope that doesn’t jinx the reality.
If Amazon comes to DT Raleigh, then all of you who are wishing for a skyline are going to get a big one.


What about the land east of centennial parkway and west of Dix Park? NC State owns about 120 acres of undeveloped land there. That could easily hold 8 million square feet of office space even without the buildings being super tall.

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The city has reserved the 2 sites, currently used for parking, in front of Duke Energy Memorial Auditorium, for signature corporate headquarters. Each site is currently zoned for 40 story buildings and could sit on a “substantial” parking deck. Then, there are open sites along S. Wilmington St. & S. Saunders St. to I-40. A transformative gateway, with easily adaptable transit options.


The Southern Gateway project would be prime development area for such a project as well. The City of Raleigh could market a new bus corridor with a Union Station terminus plus I mean Amazon will probably also have corporate commuting buses/vans as well.

Each of those two parcels at that end of Fayetteville Street can support a tower with a 50,000 sqft floor plate. The land that houses the NC Assoc. of Educators could support twin/connected towers of that same floor plate size. The “gateway” site could hold two more. Staying in the same immediate neighborhood, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce lot and the lot to its immediate south, that from the satellite imagery looks like a dirt parking lot, can hold two more towers of that footprint. In total, that’s 8 sites for towers with 50,000 sqft floor plates. That’s 8 buildings with an average of 20 occupied floors each, not including parking. That’s totally doable, and it keeps Amazon all in one place to the north and immediate west of the Duke Energy Center (which would undoubtedly eventually become the Amazon Center).
All of this land appears to be controlled by the state, the city, could be bought out, or entities that want to see Amazon happen. Also, it appears that a plan like this could still afford some breathing room between towers for a more public plaza at the corner of W. South and S. Salisbury, and space for outdoor gatherings among the groupings of buildings that could be clustered along Kindley Street.

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Lincoln theater lot is over 150,000 square feet in that area as well…

This is what 8 equal sized million square foot buildings could look like. Obviously, there’s a lot of room there for creativity vis-à-vis each parcel, and lots of land for both indoor requirements and outdoor plazas and/or amenities. If some buildings were taller, others could be either eliminated or shortened to align with the desired experience.


Agree with John and Buck on the two lots on S. Fayetteville St. I could see signature “twin towers” there. Also, I think the zoning requirements (40 stories) would be out the window for such a project. They’d probably be able to dictate terms on zoning no matter where they end up.

Plus, what about the N&O site? The Enterprise rent-a-car site? The empty lots south of RHA? The Edison lot? Kane’s newly acquired lot across from RUS? Even the surface parking lots that the state govt. was trying to sell off as part of Project Phoenix? There are so many possibilities. When you add it up, 8 million sq. feet doesn’t sound as daunting for DTR to accommodate.

And for those who say our lack of mass transit is a mark in the “con” column, it might actually work in our favor. Amazon/Apple could have a say in how/where it’s designed, rather than having to work with what already exists.

Hopefully, if this happened, it would get us one step closer to MLB/MLS! crosses fingers

Anyway, sorry for the long post. And Leo, love the new site!! Just bummed somebody got “Will” as their username!


Agreed! :slight_smile:

@RedVelvet, the entire purpose of my diagram is to show that 8M ft2 isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It’s essentially 8 buildings of 20, 50,000 ft2 floors each. It’s also 4 buildings of the same floor plate size that have 40 floors each. It’s not that big of a deal from a people standpoint. It’s a much bigger deal when it comes to transportation. BTW, my diagram was based buildings in RTP that I know are 50,000 ft2 floor plates. I used a website called It let’s you transpose by tracing places that are in one place onto another place to size them.
Also, you can bet your bottom dollar that Amazon would trigger a lot of things in DT. For one, it’s easy to imagine Amazon taking naming rights of the performing arts center, even if they had to buy it out. I can imagine them investing more in it as well to make “Memorial” more competitive with DPAC.

Wasn’t disagreeing with you, just pointing out that DTR has several options if they wanted to build from scratch vs. look for existing office space. I actually love your idea of massing a campus around the same area–like they’ve done in Seattle–and I think gateway would be perfect for it. (Although that triangular gateway lot will always be my dream ballpark site…“Amazon Park” has a pretty good ring to it :wink:

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That would look amazing!!

I guess that I will be one of those folks that say a lack of mass transit in the “con” column. if and I say a gigantic IF…Amazon does pick Raleigh. then mass transit like GoTriangle/GoRaleigh buses will have to start planning on adding longer hours of bus service to accommodate folks. Plus the added Jobs that Amazon will bring. Raleigh will be one city Charlotte will envy. fingers crossed.:slightly_smiling_face::office::department_store::european_post_office::office::office:


The transformation of the skyline would be epic for sure. I wasn’t very optimistic before about Amazon, but now I actually hope it happens. Just the catalyst downtown needs.

The Wake Transit Plan has already implemented longer operating hours for all three transit agencies, as well as increased frequency. New routes and more frequency will be added this upcoming fiscal year.


I agree, I wasn’t excited at all about the prospect of Amazon going to RTP or that site out in Chatham County. I still probably don’t want them in Raleigh at the end of the day since I’m renting and haven’t bought a house yet, but if they do choose Downtown it’ll be pretty cool.

As selfish as it sounds, being someone who already owns a home and works in a field that would definitely benefit from Amazon and/or Apple, I’m all for it.

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I bought in Garner 10 years ago. I’m just going to sit on it and see what the value does. I’m only about 5 miles from downtown.

If I had the cash, I’d be gobbling up properties and land in Garner. It will pop at some time, especially if Amazon comes to town.

Here’s my question…The WRAL report seems to be saying two different things: “Amazon is very interested in DTR” according to their sources.

Some reports imply DTR is the leader of all 20 finalist cities.

Other reports say that DTR is just the preference IF North Carolina is selected. In other words, DTR is just preferred over other Triangle sites and isn’t necessarily the leader at all. So, which is it?